Autism and Childhood Vaccines Hearing Testimony: Bernard Rimland | April 6, 2000

Bernard Rimland has white hair and beard and is wearing a tan suit, white shirt and multi-color tie.

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                     UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO

    Mr. Rimland. Thank you very much for the opportunity to be 
here. It is a great honor and a great privilege.
    I want to start by commenting that there has been a lot of 
discussion during the past few hours about the supposedly 
unproven hypothesis that vaccines may cause autism. There is 
another unproven hypothesis which has been unchallenged and 
unquestioned, at least relatively so, and it is really a very 
important hypothesis, and that hypothesis is that vaccines are 
    The real hypothesis which should have been tested years and 
years and years ago by much more scientific research than has 
ever been devoted to it is the proposition that vaccines do not 
cause damage. The Vaccine Information Adverse Reaction 
Reporting System has not been studied; it has not been looked 
at at all carefully, and therefore, the assumption that many 
people are making is that the vaccines have been looked at 
carefully for adverse reactions, and they have not been.
    The other point I want to make has to do with the testimony 
of Dr. Brent Taylor, who spoke here on the last panel. I was 
very bothered by the lack of information and the confusing 
information in his paper. My entire life has been spent as a 
professional researcher--almost 50 years of my life has been as 
a full-time professional researcher. I am a fellow of the 
division of statistics, measurement and evaluation of the 
American Psychological Association.
    I wrote a friendly letter to Dr. Taylor indicating that I 
would very much like to take a look at his data, because I did 
not understand part of it, and there were some questions that I 
wanted to raise. He ignored my first letter. I sent a second 
letter, and he responded to that by saying no, I could not have 
a look at his data.
    I then wrote to the editor of the Lancet urging that a 
blue-ribbon committee be appointed to take a very close look at 
the data of Dr. Taylor. So I am delighted that you have asked 
for it as well.
    My own son Mark was born in 1956 as a severely autistic 
child from birth. Our pediatrician, who had been in practice 
for 35 years at that time, had never seen such a child or heard 
of such a child.
    When Mark was 2, my wife and I found the word ``autism'' 
for the first time in a textbook. I was at that point 5 years 
beyond my Ph.D. in psychology, never having heard of or seen 
the word ``autism'' before. It obviously was a very rare 
disorder, extremely rare. None of us had heard of it.
    Today it is extremely common. There is hardly a high school 
kid in the country who has not heard of autism. It is a 
household word now, and that is not because of the movie ``Rain 
Man,'' but because it is extremely prevalent.
    Despite denials from some experts, there is a terrible 
worldwide epidemic of autism. In the mid-1960's, after my book 
``Infantile Autism'' was published, I began hearing from 
parents throughout the world whose children had been normal 
until given the DPT shot. I began to make note of it and ask 
questions about it in the form letters I sent out to parents 
seeking information about autism.
    In the past few years, the Autism Research Institute, which 
I direct in San Diego, has been flooded with letters and faxes 
about children whose parents say and can prove very well with 
videotapes and photos that their kids were normal until getting 
another triple vaccine, the MMR shot. In my view, the evidence 
is overwhelming that vaccines, especially the triple vaccines, 
and among the triple vaccines especially the MMR, can and do 
cause many cases of autism.
    It is also alarming but true that 90 to 99 percent of 
adverse reactions to vaccines are never reported. There is no 
penalty for a doctor's failure to report a bad vaccine 
reaction, so they simply do not do it. Why should they engage 
themselves in paperwork if there is no requirement that they do 
it and no penalty for not doing it?
    This being so, how can the authorities claim that the 
vaccines are safe, given that only 1 to 10 percent of adverse 
events are ever reported? Doctors must be trained to recognize, 
and required, not just requested, to report adverse events.
    With regard to the question of genetics, they say that 
autism has a large genetic component, and therefore, vaccines 
must play a minimal role. My book, ``Infantile Autism,'' 
published in 1964 was the first systematic attempt to marshal 
the evidence for a genetic relationship to autism, so I am 
certainly not hostile to that idea. However, genes do not begin 
to account for the huge increase in the incidence of autism. 
There is no such thing as an epidemic due to gene problems. The 
increase ranges from 250 to 500 percent in various places, as 
other people have pointed out here.
    As the editor of the Autism Research Review International, 
I have just reviewed a very large number of studies on the 
genetics of autism. The next issue of the Autism Research 
Review is going to contain our review study. The results of our 
review are spectacularly inconsistent. The best guess is that 
there are at least 20 different genes that may be involved in 
the causation of autism. Genes are not the answer to the 
question, even though, at one time, I was very much in favor of 
looking at that hypothesis. I am still interested in the 
hypothesis, but it is certainly not responsible for the 
increase in autism.
    The people who claim that the vaccines are safe claim that 
autism naturally occurs at about 18 months, when the measles/
mumps/rubella vaccine is routinely given, so the association is 
merely coincidental and not causal. But the onset of autism at 
18 months is a recent development. Autism starting at 18 months 
rose very sharply in the mid-1980's, when the MMR vaccine was 
introduced. For the previous 30 years--we have been collecting 
information from children born in the fifties, sixties, 
seventies, and so forth--there were twice as many kids reported 
with the autism started at birth as there were kids whose 
parents reported that the autism started at 18 months.
    Starting in about the 1980's, when the MMR vaccine was 
introduced, those two curves converged. Over a period of 
several years, the number of kids whose autism started at 18 
months rose to twice as high as the number starting at birth. 
On the last page of my handout, I have a graph that shows those 
curves based on the records of over 31,000 children in our San 
Diego institute. So that particular argument against the MMR 
hypothesis is obviously a very poor one.
    Autism is not the only severe chronic illness which has 
reached epidemic proportions, as the number of very profitable 
vaccines has rapidly increased. Children now receive 33 
vaccines before they enter school--a huge increase. The 
vaccines contain not only live viruses, but also very 
significant amounts of highly toxic substances such as mercury, 
aluminum and formaldehyde. Could this be the reason for the 
upsurge in ADHD, asthma, arthritis, Crohn's disease, lupus, and 
other chronic disorders? It seems as though we are trading 
protection against acute diseases such as measles and mumps for 
a huge epidemic of chronic diseases like autism, asthma, and 
the others I mentioned.
    As a parent and a full-time professional researcher, I am 
bitterly disappointed with the medical establishment's dismal 
record with regard to autism over the past 60 years. The 
medical schools as well as the Government agencies have 
consistently supported outmoded, unproven and even disproven 
ideas, including the one that autism was caused by 
``refrigerator mothers'' who did not love their children, thus 
causing autism. The medical establishment was opposed to 
behavior modification, or what is now called the ABA approach. 
They said that this was not a way to treat autism, because 
autism was based on deepseated emotional problems, so a 
technique that is used to train animals cannot be used to 
improve autistic children. That was untrue. They have ignored 
and continue to ignore the long series of studies conducted 
both in the United States and Europe showing that the 
elimination of foods containing gluten and casein from the diet 
brings about marked improvement in many autistic children. They 
have consistently ignored the series of 18 consecutive studies 
conducted by researchers in six countries which show that 
almost half of all autistic children and adults respond 
favorably to high doses of Vitamin B6 and magnesium, with no 
adverse reports from any of these studies. Eleven of these 
studies were double-blind placebo-crossover experiments. There 
is no drug which comes even close to B6/magnesium in terms of 
safety, efficacy, and positive research findings, yet it is not 
being explored at all.
    Tens of millions of dollars have been spent on 
nonproductive lines of research while virtually no money at all 
has been given to research on methods of alternative medicine 
which are far more promising in terms of both safety and 
    The most interesting questions are not being asked. Why 
does the majority of any population survive such epidemics as 
autism, the bubonic plague, Legionnaire's disease, polio and 
AIDS, while relatively few succumb?
    The very obvious answer and the most probable answer is 
that the survivors have healthy, effective immune systems. 
Would enhancing the immune system decrease the likelihood of 
adverse reactions to vaccines--including, by the way, the 
anthrax vaccine. I hope that DOD will pay some attention to 
that. There is good reason to think about anthrax in this 
    It is well-known that the immune system must be adequately 
supplied with many nutrients if it is to function properly, 
including especially Vitamins A, C, E, B6, and a number of 
minerals, including zinc, magnesium, and selenium. Nutritional 
levels of these substances are not only harmless, but they are 
essential to good health.
    Since people do not change their diets readily, I believe 
that foods should be fortified with these nutrients, especially 
foods which will be consumed by infants and children. Research 
along these lines, as well as on the safety of the vaccines, is 
desperately needed.
    Recently, Professor Clementson published a paper--he is the 
author of a three-volume treatise on Vitamin C--reviewing the 
evidence showing that individuals who are vaccinated without 
having adequate supplies of Vitamin C in their bodies are far 
more likely to suffer an adverse reaction to the vaccine than 
those who have higher levels of Vitamin C.
    Dr. Archie Kalokerinos of Australia, a pediatrician 
assigned by the Government to the outback people there, found 
an infant death rate of 50 percent among the children he cared 
for. They died soon after the vaccines. He found that they were 
extremely Vitamin C-deficient, and he learned that by giving 
them some extra Vitamin C, he could prevent their deaths. The 
death rate went from 50 percent to zero in a very short time. 
Dr. Kalokerinos was given a medal by the Australian Government.
    We should be giving our children Vitamin C as well as other 
nutrients to make sure that their immune systems are well-fed 
and function well. I think we would see a lot fewer of the 
problems that we are experiencing today.
    As a parent and as a researcher, I believe there should be 
a marked redirection of effort and funding along the lines 
suggested above.
    Thank you.
    Mr. Burton. Thank you, Dr. Rimland. I appreciate your 


Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid. 

ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.

The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t workIn study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work. 

What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.

The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth. 

The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome. 

This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.

Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.

Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.

Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.

[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]

Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.

2 responses to “Autism and Childhood Vaccines Hearing Testimony: Bernard Rimland | April 6, 2000”

  1. The anthrax thing:

    a year and a half later [subsequent to September 11 2001] some anthrax was sent to various arms of the US government…

    And Rimland is talking about survivor bias here.

    Many years ago he was a psychometrician for the US Navy.


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